Information for referrers to our services

Our objective is to help people in housing need who are unable to afford to purchase or to retain their own homes or who are not eligible for, or who would otherwise have difficulty in accessing, social housing, to achieve sustainable housing solutions in the private rented sector.  We seek to achieve our social objectives by providing landlords with professional letting and management services and effective advice and support services for tenants.

Our services

We provide the following three routes for people to access private rented housing:

  • The Home Finder Service
  • Housing Management  Service
  • Private Sector Leasing Scheme, in partnership with Wigan Council

These services are underpinned by our Advice & Support service.

The expectation is that referring agencies will not specify any particular method of rehousing on behalf of their clients.  Wigan Housing Solutions reserves the right to select the most appropriate service for each client.

 The Home Finder Service

The Home Finder Service includes practical help and advice for people to find a home and run their tenancy of it successfully.  The service provides support through training workshops empowering clients in home finding, financial literacy including income maximisation, budgeting, better off calculations; basic bank accounts; credit union services; rights & responsibilities of landlords & tenants; and where and how to seek help.  The service will also provide one to one advice & support sessions, including debt & benefits advice. 

 The Housing Management Service

Wigan Housing Solutions also provides a lettings and management service for private landlords, on the understanding that we will be allocating properties to people in housing need and providing them with appropriate advice and support to help them maintain their tenancy successfully. 

A ‘Let only’ service is also provided for landlords, which includes finding a tenant and setting up the tenancy.  Advice and support is provided for the tenant.

 The Bond Guarantee Scheme

The Bond Guarantee Scheme has been set up by the Wigan Homelessness Forum to provide bond guarantees to landlords on behalf of new tenants who are unable to afford a security deposit. 

A bond guarantee is a legally binding agreement between the Bond Scheme, the landlord and the tenant which replaces the ‘up-front’ cash security deposit normally required by landlords.  If landlords face the costs of damage to their property when a tenant under the Scheme moves out, they can make a claim against the bond guarantee.

Bond guarantees are available through our Home Finder Service, or through our Housing Management Service.

Please click the link below for more information on the bond scheme - http://www.wiganhs.org/index.php/bond-scheme

 The Private Sector Leasing Scheme

The Private Sector Leasing Scheme is a service set up by Wigan Council to provide accommodation for people who are homeless or otherwise in housing need. Under the Scheme, Wigan housing Solutions lets and manages properties leased by Wigan council from private landlords.

Wigan Council Housing Strategy Team commissioned the Private Sector Leasing Scheme to deliver aims and objectives as defined within Wigan’s Homelessness Strategy “A Place for All” 2008 – 13 and Wigan’s Housing Strategy, namely to prevent homelessness, increase the numbers of and access to affordable housing available, and reduce in the use of temporary accommodation.

 Advice & support

All the people accepted for our services will also be provided with confidential and impartial advice and assistance to support them in maintaining their tenancies and developing their personal skills. This includes help with housing allowance applications, income maximisation and advice on personal finance matters, housing rights and responsibilities; debt and welfare benefits advice; and, where agreed, referrals to organisations providing additional areas of support, for example with gaining employment.

We are particularly concerned that people taking on a tenancy understand and can afford their commitments, and therefore everyone being assisted by our service will receive individual advice on budgeting and personal financial management.  In addition, after being granted a tenancy, ongoing advice and support will be provided to assist tenants in meeting their obligations and responding to changes or difficulties that may arise with their tenancies.

 Prospective clients

We will consider applications from people who:

  • are homeless, potentially homeless or otherwise in housing need, who are unable to afford to purchase their own home or who are ineligible for, or would otherwise have difficulty in accessing housing provided by the local authority or other social landlords, and
  • have a local connection with or other valid reason for wanting to live in Wigan Borough, and
  • tith appropriate support, have the prospects of making a success of a tenancy, and
  • for the Bond Scheme: are on benefits, a low wage or otherwise unable to raise the money for a security bond for a private tenancy.

Because we will be managing properties on behalf of landlords, we will be unable to assist people who are likely to damage property or cause neighbourhood disruption, or who pose a risk to Wigan Housing Solutions staff or to the wider community.  We will consider each case individually.

Where applicants do not, for any reason, qualify for assistance under one of our services, we will provide them with an explanation, a full housing options interview and, where appropriate, refer them to further sources of help.

 The Applications Process

People can apply to access our services on their own account or by referral.  
We can be contacted at the Wigan Housing Solutions, Rear of 761 Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, Wigan, WN5 8AT; by telephone- 01942 216843 or email at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Applicants will be asked to complete a straightforward application form, but if they have any difficulties in presenting their case, for example where English is not their first language, we will arrange for support, or will welcome any advocacy on their behalf through the referring or other agency.

Agencies wishing to refer clients must use our referral form and provide details of risk assessments, specific needs and any support packages being provided. We will also require an application for accommodation form to be completed.

Referral and Application Forms are available on-line, through the Company’s website, www.wiganhs.org

 People to Places – Wigan Housing Solutions Rehousing Scheme

The scheme aims to match people to places. When individuals are accepted on to the scheme we will endeavour to match them to suitable properties in terms of size, type, location. People will be matched to places as and when suitable private properties are sourced.

The Private Sector Leasing Scheme is exempt from allocations as defined within the Allocations Code of Guidance, as it is offering non-secure tenancies only. 
(Section 3.4 a)

 Housing Needs

We will identify by interview and from application forms what each individual applicant’s needs are to better help us to match them to the right property, as well as making sure we are assisting those groups in housing need that require help to access the private sector.

The categories of need that we will record are as follows:

  • Learning Disability
  • Vulnerability
  • Homelessness
  • Threatened with Homelessness
  • Former Asylum Seekers
  • Over-occupation of property
  • Mortgage Repossession
  • Family Breakdown
  • Other housing needs

Where a property is suitable for a number of applicants, the following criteria will take into account in making the allocation:

  • The urgency of their current housing situation
  • The level of housing need
  • The likelihood of applicant finding suitable accommodation through another source
  • The date of application

 Property criteria

Properties available on the scheme will consist of a mix of bungalows, flats and houses. The size of the property and number of bedrooms will determine the family size it is allocated to. We will be using a defined allocation standard to ensure that properties do not become over-occupied.  
Notification of the maximum number of occupants that can live in a property will be provided when the a tenancy is offered.

Under the Private Sector Leasing Scheme, the Council will give priority to leasing properties of type and location that become vacant less frequently through Council and Housing Association waiting lists.

Smaller households may not necessarily be eligible for larger properties as these are scarce and would also generate an affordability problem should the property be under-occupied.

We will try to match people to places taking into account housing need, household type and the availability of types of housing in the borough.

 Location

We will look to source properties across the borough. We will try to accommodate people in their preferred location and incorporate any support networks they may have in an area but we will not accommodate people in an area that may make them vulnerable or pose a risk to themselves or others.

 Advertising Properties

Properties will be advertised through our website and, where the properties concerned are in the Private Sector Leasing Scheme, by Housing Options.

 Tenancies

Because the Council is taking a short term lease of private properties, non-secure tenancies will be offered under the private sector leasing scheme.

Under the housing Management Service, assured short-hold tenancies will be offered.

 Service standards

Every service user should be able to expect the following from the Company:

  • a welcoming reception, an understanding approach, and sufficient time to attend to their case;
  • identification of what the service user expects and what the Company can provide;
  • services which are available to all who need them regardless of race, colour, or ethnic or national origin, or creed or religion; disability; HIV/Aids; age; gender or sexual identity; or other identity issues;
  • impartiality, and a non-judgemental approach;
  • confidentiality, unless the service user has given express permission for disclosure to a third party or there is serious risk of harm;
  • information that is accurate at the time given,  unbiased and clearly presented to the service user in an appropriate way;
  • a comprehensive consideration of a service user's situation, including where possible, a presentation and explanation of a full range of options from which they can choose;
  • keeping service users fully involved;
  • application of policies on health and safety and taking proper precautions for personal and premises security;
  • encouragement feedback on service quality and provision of  opportunities for user participation in service development;
  • a reliable service that will be available as stated and carried out as agreed;
  • effective referral of cases, where these are agreed and in the best interests of service users;
  • effective application of the complaints procedure if it is invoked;
  • giving the service user access to their own case record (subject to notice).

 Withdrawal of service

Support services will generally be withdrawn on the ending of a period during which a Bond Guarantee applies, or on termination of a tenancy provided through the Company.  However, Support Services can be ended during the period of a bond or tenancy if the support plan has been achieved during that time, or in circumstances of need, support may be provided to assist service users in the move to other accommodation.  All service users will be sent a written confirmation of the advice received and the action to take if future assistance is required.

The Company recognises that, unfortunately, there are other circumstances where there may be no alternative but to use our discretion to withdraw service from a user.  In such a situation, the person will receive notification in writing together with clear reasons why the service has been withdrawn.    If the service user disagrees with the decision, they are able to complain to the Chair of the Board of Management, through the Atherton office.

In general, exclusion will be used as a last resort and other forms of resolution will be attempted before deciding on a withdrawal of service.  However we will not tolerate aggressive, threatening or abusive toward staff or other service users.

 Complaints Procedure

The Company operates a Complaints Policy, which can be accessed by contacting the Company Secretary at the Atherton Centre, York Street, Atherton, M49 9JD, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 Equal Opportunities

Wigan Housing solution seeks to be an inclusive and outward looking organisation that welcomes social diversity and actively seeks to promote social inclusion through partnership working and capacity building in the community.  It is committed to equal opportunities for all people, and welcomes and seeks to facilitate diversity amongst staff, Board Members and the people using its services.  

 Adult & Child Protection

The Company has adopted a policies to ensure that vulnerable people are protected from any potential form of abuse whilst using our services, and that procedures are in place to provide a speedy and effective response for dealing with concerns about someone who is deemed to be vulnerable.   The Company applies the Wigan Borough Joint Procedures.

 

If you have any further comments please not hesitate to contact us on 01942 216843